By Annette Christie Suspected arson at roadside park
On May 4, 2018 at approximately 10:00 p.m., a passerby noticed that the bathrooms, located at the Flowing Wells Roadside Park were fully engulfed in fire. This passerby contacted 9-1-1 to report it. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police Fire Marshall’s Division and the fire departments of Watervliet, Sister Lakes, and Benton Township responded to the scene. The roadside park and structures are owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation. An investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police Fire Marshall’s Division determined that the fire was intentionally set, and thus it is considered arson. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at (269) 983-7141, ext. 7224, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-7867, or the Michigan State Police Arson Tip Line at 1-800-442-7766.
Single car accident claims Hartford man
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on May 2, 2018, multiple emergency services agencies responded to CR-362 east of 70th Street in Keeler Township for a one vehicle rollover crash with ejection. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies were dispatched to the accident site. Through witness interviews and initial investigations of the scene, it appears that the vehicle was traveling eastbound on CR-362. The vehicle lost control and ran off the south side of the road, overturning several times. The driver was ejected and sustained multiple severe injuries. Despite the life-saving efforts of numerous fire and medical first responders on scene, the driver, a 23-year-old Hartford man, succumbed to his injuries after being transported to Lakeland Watervliet Hospital. The accident is being actively investigated at this time. At the time of the press release it was unknown if alcohol or drugs played a factor in the crash. Authorities did say that it appeared as though speed may have been a factor. It does not appear that the driver was wearing his safety belt. Investigating deputies include Deputy Ray Hochsprung, Keeler Township Contract Deputy; Deputy Phil Scuiletti, Hartford Township Contract Deputy; and Sergeant Greg Pentland, Uniform Response Division. Assisting agencies include Pokagon Tribal Police, Hartford Police Department, Pride Care EMS, Hartford Township Fire Department and Quick Response, and the Van Buren County Road Commission.
Michigan State Police conducting crack down on distracted drivers
Motorists can expect to see more Michigan State Police Troopers patrolling I-94 this spring and summer, from the Indiana border to Wayne County. Interstate 94 is the major thoroughfare between Detroit and Chicago and is used by many area residents for their daily commutes. Traffic increases in the summer as motorists use the route to get to Michigan’s vacation destination spots. With traffic crashes increasing again in 2017, troopers will be actively addressing the driving behaviors most associated with traffic crashes. These behaviors include distracted and aggressive driving, following too closely, improper lane use, and excessive speed. “Motorists can expect troopers to take a zero-tolerance approach to these dangerous driving behaviors,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “Most crashes are preventable, and the dangerous behaviors we see on I-94 need to change. Now is the time to send the message that these dangerous driving behaviors will not be tolerated. Hopefully we can make I-94 much safer this summer.” Crashes on I-94 increased by seven percent in 2017, from 6,010 crashes in 2016 to 6,453 crashes. Commercial vehicle involved crashes on I-94 also increased. Statewide, traffic crashes rose by one percent from 312,171 crashes in 2016 to 314,921 crashes in 2017.
North Berrien Fire Rescue Department
The North Berrien Fire Rescue Department responded to 20 calls in the month of April with seven in Hagar Township, nine in Coloma Charter Township, and two calls in the City of Coloma. There was one call on the highways and one mutual aid. Of the calls, there were two structure fires, one burning complaint, two motor vehicle accidents, two lift assists, one mutual aid, three incidents regarding power lines, one CO alarm, five fire alarms, and three re-kindles.